When the journey home is hard

August 9, 2010

Growing up in Altoona, an old railroad town in central Pennsylvania, I learned hard lessons. I learned the meaning of family, friends, and home. I also learned early that material things meant nothing, especially when what you needed you could not buy.

Recently my best friend packed up and headed back home to Pennsylvania to be closer to family, friends, and work. We lived a half mile a part in Fishers for the past four years and I honestly can’t help but feel a little disappointed, sad, and at a loss. Yet I know this is the best thing for him and I am happy that his family and friends will now be a short drive away. He is one of the greatest people I know and will ever know.

And then my wife came home tonight from work and shared a story about another kind of journey home. One that makes a move feel trivial, a nine-hour car ride feel silly, and not being able to see someone when you want feel selfish.

My wife is an RN and works on a unit where she and her co-workers deal with very sick children, each and every day. Sometimes the children she sees go home, but not home in the physical sense. Rather these children who fought hard, showed courage, and in the darkest time became a bright light for those to remember their journey, go back home to where they started.

As she talked our Macbook flipped over to sleep mode and a slideshow of family photos played. It was then the bigger message of going home hit me. After we were done talking I let the computer play. I saw pictures of my children when they were born, birthday parties, family gatherings, and random candids that transported me back to that place and time.

We can always wish for more time, we can always wish for things to be different, and we can always wish for things to be easy. However my only wish is that I stopped along the way to take in the sights, enjoy the little things, and be thankful for the time I did have regardless of the journey home.

So to my best friend, I’ll see you back home soon. And for all those out there whose loved one’s journey home is much, much different…may you find peace and comfort until your all home together again.

“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”

Matsuo Basho


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